Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sew Frustrated

I have had the enormous blessing of a few days all by myself. Literally, my husband has been in Mississippi for staff development week and his parents graciously offered to take Helen and Little Philip to Tennessee for a few days of spoiling and cousin time.

Big Philip's time in Mississippi unfortunately parted us for our eighth anniversary yesterday. However, after eight years of marriage, we know how to adapt so we celebrated last Friday. In our minds, the actual "date" of a birthday or anniversary is less important than celebrating it the right way on a day when you can.

I am sure my children are having a blast with all of their cousins, aunts, uncles, Mamie, Bop Bop, Mama Em, Papa Papa and then some. I hear that they went to an exotic animal farm where wild animals came right up to them, allowing the children to feed them. I am sad to miss such fun but...

Did I mention that I had these last few days all by myself? Sunday night after Big Philip left I wandered aimlessly around the house, pittering on facebook, attempting to discern what to do with this incredible gift of time and space. After a long hot bath in complete silence, a conversation with a girlfriend that did not involve hiding from my children in order to have said adult conversation, I decided to get busy sewing.

Now you should know that I am a sewing-crazed fool that has zero skills. That is a major problem since it means I have dozens of patterns and fabric I have purchased this past year and most often, end up ruining the fabric and my spirit attempting to teach myself to sew. I have been known to look inside the shirt and dress collars of my preschoolers to see if their mothers or grandmothers handmade their outfits. I have also been known to wait by the classroom door to accost these mothers and grandmothers and asked them how they did it. I took one sewing class at The Smocking Bird here in town and learn how to sew the Children's Corner "Lucy" pattern for Helen. That taught me some very basic skills and tricks that I have been able to apply. However, I continue to be baffled by the dreaded zipper, that appears in every pattern I have purchased to make clothing for myself. Still, I keep at it. So here are the results of the last 72 hours.This is a Lucy dress I made for Helen. It was very easy except for making the buttonholes. I recently bought a buttonhole foot for my Bernina 150 but no matter what I do, I have to gently tug the fabric along to keep it from snagging. I made it work but an expert seamstress would look on my work with a heavy heart. It is a cute little jumper and something that is not so PINK since most of her wardrobe is still so PINK. I thought it was time to branch out.
This is a skirt I tried to make about two months ago. I checked out Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing book from the library after seeing some craft blogs tout how simple, functional, and easy the patterns were in the book. I chose the Yard Sale Wrap skirt and got to work. To tell you the truth, my work was virtually flawless and then I tried it on. Mind you, I made the X-large size so imagine my dismay to find it would not go around my waist by about six inches. Some quick googling revealed that Heather goofed and did not get corrections completed before the book went to press. I was so upset. I printed off the errata sheet and tucked it into the book before I returned it to the library so some other poor soul did not find herself as frustrated as I was. However, the bliss of these last 72 hours gave me the time to cut out the beautiful waistband, pull up the skirt to shorten it and fit my teeny-tiny waist (detect that sarcasm?), and attempt to put in a dreaded zipper. I failed again, but it does zip, and it will stay on. I just need to wear a slouchy t-shirt with it to cover my terrible sewing skills.This is a dress I complete a while back and had planned to wear to some summer wedding weekends. Again, it is virtually flawless except for my inability to put in an invisible zipper. Because of this, there is a hideous white zipper that glares at you from the back. I post a picture of it despite the fact that I did not do a thing to it these last 72 hours. However, I spent about an hour trying to work up the courage to take it apart and try again. I decided against it and plan to take it to an alterations place to have them correct my zipper mistake and make it wearable before my Southern upbringing makes it impossible for me to wear eyelet linen past Labor Day.

I started to back smock a pink panel I was given that should form a cute bubble but comparing it to Helen's current bubbles made me think that she has definitely outgrown it. If I had a smocking pleater, I probably would have spent some more time starting some new smocking projects.

So here is my wishlist to feed my need for sewing.

A smocking pleater
The Smocking Bird's intermediate sewing class (set in sleeves, collars and piping)
The Smocking Bird's smocked bishop construction class
The Smocking Bird's smocking stacking class

Too bad we need groceries first each month!

Tomorrow I will be able to press my sweet children's faces to mine and give them big sloppy kisses and hugs. Saturday I can give my husband big sloppy kisses and hugs too. For now, I plan to go soak in one more hot bubble bath and enjoy that last glass of white wine chilling in the fridge.


Philip said...

Can't wait to see you!

Robert and Tiffany Adams said...

Renie! I am so impressed!

Connie Harbor said...

Renie, it's Taylor's mom here - I have several pleating machines and would be delighted to pleat your projects for you - the fabric needs only to be pre-washed. I also have lots of experience in both smocking and constructing smocked garments (I taught nationwide for the Smocking Arts Guild of America for about 15 years) and would also be glad to help you master these skills. I believe Taylor has already offered to help with your zipper phobia. I work full time, but nights and weekends are an option. I use a very old (1980) Bernina and wouldn't give it up for anything!

Shelia said...

Renie, I've seen the clothes you made and they're beautiful! I still can't believe all this is self-taught! I wish I knew how to make clothes as well as you do. Maybe one day I can take a class, workshop, or something. Keep up the great work!

Miss Sheri said...

Wow! You are so industrious. Nice job!